The Match: This is the 67th game of the Indian Premier League and will see the Kings XI Punjab take on the Deccan Chargers at the HPCA stadium in Dharmasala. The Chargers are already out of contention for a berth in the playoffs whereas the Punjab side are left with an outside chance of making it there.
How the two teams match up: More than how the two sides match up, it is interesting to note that the Kings XI Punjab can make it to the playoffs if they win this game. A win here will push them to 16 points with a net run-rate of around 0.3. Currently the Kolkata Knight Riders have 16 points and if they lose their last game to the Mumbai Indians, they will be left with 16 points and with a net run rate less than 0.4 – depending on the margin of the loss. So, there is a chance that the Punjab side go through on the net run rate.
The other option is to win this one and hope that Mumbai Indians lose both their remaining games – something that will definitely push the Mumbai Indians below Punjab in their net run-rate. Somehow, this option does not seem like a possibility.
Ground Conditions: The match will be played at Dharmasala, where batting has been much easier than the bowling.
The Teams: The two sides will look to ensure that they can up the ante in their batting. Fortunately for the Punjab side, they have shown enough to prove that they can get going at the top – especially with the coming to form of Adam Gilchrist. It was a brilliant century by him in the Bangalore game and will look to continue with the form, even as the likes of Shaun Marsh and Paul Valthaty give him company.>
It will be a good idea for someone like Praveen Kumar to be allowed to bowl all his four overs at the start of the innings if the ball swings around.
Deccan Chargers had won their last game against the Pune Warriors and will look to go in with a similar team, except that their captain Sangakkara will be out of reckoning – having gone back to England to play in the Test series. White will lead the side.
Players to look out for: Punjab need Dinesh Karthik to get going in the middle order while Deccan will look to their spinning duo of Amit Mishra and Pragyan Ojha to do some damage.
Prediction: Punjab will not only be favourites but also desperately hungry to make it five in a row. That is their only chance.